Thịt Thăn Xào Chua Ngọt Sweet and Sour Pork – 328 of 365

Thịt Thăn Xào Chua Ngọt

Dinner with a couple of coworkers in Hanoi opened my eyes to a new style of pork called thịt thăn xào chua ngọt or pork tenderloin with sweet and sour sauce.  We had settled on Dieu’s Cuisine in the Tay Ho neighborhood and sat down outdoors lakeside in the steamy evening air.  Yes, that Hanoi actually has such a large lake is quite aesthetic, but it also burps up some noxious sewage odors as well as gestates a constant swarm of mosquitos.  We got to thinking that dinner with a side of dengue fever might not be all that great a thing, so we took the party indoors to the air conditioned upstairs dining area.

Yes, I will admit we like the creature comforts, especially when mother nature is trying to give us a bout of whatever plagues Hanoian mosquitos might carry.  Ordering off the menu proved interesting as our instructions to go off script by leaving out certain ingredients were just met with utter confusion.  I could see their looks as I eschewed the fat in a pork dish and requested it all be cut away.  Eating some animal’s excess calories that went right to its waistline just held little appeal.

I could tell our waiter just couldn’t believe people actually exist who don’t want fat on their pig slices, shrimp in their spring rolls or sugar in their smoothies.  That’s ok though.  We got what we wanted in the end, but I know the kitchen was thinking why the hell don’t these western people want the gelatinous rubber fat attached to their meat.

Perhaps I should have kept the fat after all for the meat was just so overcooked and tough.  The menu indicated pork “tenderloin” did it not?  This was anything but moist, and indeed, shoe leather well doneness seems to be par for the course though in Vietnam.  Hey, I am not complaining too much though.  Friends of mine have contracted worms over here from undercooked foods so please, cook the hell out of my foods!  I can wait a few more weeks until I am back in America to eat the more tender morsels of animal chunks.

The orange-like sauce was nice, and I actually drank some from a spoon.  Yeah, I know.  What great manners I have.  But then again this is Vietnam where slurping noodles and smacking food loudly while chewing is not only acceptable but seems to be encouraged.  So I highly doubt anyone would notice if I lapped up a bunch of liquid.

One thing I have learned for sure over here during this food journey is my best meals have come from the streets at joints where the only menu is a smoking grill and pans of delicious food.  Restaurants with a menu in half English just don’t always rise to the greatness of the street food that has given me such amazing memories.

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Categories: Vietnamese Food

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